Site 1 was dominated by American Beech (Fagus grandifolia). There were also a high number of Musclewood (Carpinus carolinana). Musclewood looks very similar to American Beech, so similar, that we almost did not realize they were different trees. The bark is the same color gray and is also smooth. But, unlike American Beech, the bark of Musclewood has deep rivets running vertically, sort of looking like a muscled leg or arm. The leaves of Musclewood are almost the same exact shape and texture as American Beech leaves, except, they are much smaller.
Two large Tulip Poplars (Liriodendron tulipifera) towered above all the other trees. There was a Tulip Poplar on each side of the creek, acting like sentinels of the plot. On the far edge of the plot was an even taller tree, the lone White Oak (Quercus alba) that acted as the lone knight.
Our forays into the woods taught us that there is life even in death. In our plot was a fallen tree - a tree fallen so long ago that only a short trunk connected to a stump remained. The tree was in late stages of decay, giving off white decaying organic matter. But even admist this decay there was life. A lone stem grew out of the decayed stump matter, reaching for the sky.